Scalini Fedeli

Slightly off the beaten path, downtown, the romantic Tuscan delight, Scalini Fedeli, embraces you from the minute you enter. The warmth is reflected in the greeting at the door and the vaulted ceilings, recessed lighting, soft background opera, huge Corinthian columns and hanging tapestries set the mood. The elegance of the room is further carried by fresh flowers, oil paintings, antique sideboards and plush furnishings.

There is no celebrity chef here at this highly rated Italian and it is just as well. The attention is on the food and no one is running off to a book signing. The menu offers plenty of choices with some 17 appetizers and an equal number of entrees. As with most great restaurants, the selections reflect a creativity not available in lesser establishments.

Consider pappardelle in a game sauce with venison and rabbit finished with a Barolo wine and bitter chocolate. Chocolate? But, oh did it work! Also tried a delicious shrimp in a Roma tomato, mustard and basil reduction with prosciutto, marinated melon and buffalo mozzarella. And these were just the appetizers.

For entrees we selected a perfectly seared tuna with short rib braised lentils (Worcheshire, capers, balsamic) and a parsnip puree in a red wine reduction that was magnificent and a melt in your mouth braised short rib with a cherry pepper glaze and fried potatoes.

While we normally skip dessert, two items caught our eye and for once we couldn’t resist; a warm carmelized apple tart was baked in a fillo crust, served with a brown sugar crumble and cinnamon gelato and a chocolate tart in a vanilla flecked crust with thinly sliced carmelized orange peel. Now I understand why people eat dessert.

Waiters in black tuxedos provide effortless service, attentive, not too obtrusive. Our waiter on this visit was particularly helpful, explaining complicated dishes and suggesting an unusual wine to accompany the meal.

Meals are a modest (by NY standards) $75pp prix fixe with very few supplements. The wine list is understandably heavily Italian

Best tables for intimate conversation are #1 by the window, #16/17 between the columns or #19 next to the column.


AAA Four Diamond Award

This TriBeCa class act from Michael Cetrulo matches “marvelous” Italian cuisine with “top-notch” service in a “lovely”, “traditional” setting exuding “Old Europe” vibes; with prix fixe–only menus starting at $75, it’s “not cheap”, but “worth it for a special occasion.” ZAGAT